March 2017 Message From Father Peter
Almighty Lord, You have created all things in wisdom. In Your inexpressible providence and great goodness You have brought us to these saving days, for the cleansing of our souls and bodies, for control of our passions, in the hope of the Resurrection. After the forty days You delivered into the hands of Your servant Moses the tablets of the law in characters divinely traced. Enable us also, O benevolent One, to fight the good fight, to complete the course of the fast, to keep the faith inviolate, to crush underfoot the heads of unseen tempters, to emerge victors over sin and to come, without reproach, to the worship of Your Holy Resurrection
– Prayer Before The Ambon – Presanctified Liturgy -
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Glory To Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
We are now at the threshold of the Great and Holy Fast in preparation for the Feast of Feasts, The Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
During the first week of the Fast, although fasting from food, extraneous conversation, and sinful activity, we feast on the rich spiritual food offered to us in the daily services of the Lenten Hours, Compline and the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, the Presanctified Liturgy and the Service of Supplication (Paraklis) to the Most-Holy Mother of God. These services with their penitential and somber character, often served in a candlelit Church, are a source of consolation and assistance to us as we labor to repent – to change our mind and our hearts, so that we can foster a deeper relationship with our Lord. This first week is given to us to help us jump- start our spiritual engine – so that we can travel through this Holy Season in the proper frame of mind and spirit. Please take advantage of at least one or more of these services, you will be glad you did!
The journey before us while beautiful and holy is also very spiritually and physically demanding. The Evil One – Satan – is extremely unhappy when we engage in the spiritually profitable activities of increased prayer, fasting, spiritual reading and doing good works. He, then, as we well know, steps up his attacks on us and does everything he can do to discourage us and cause us to fall into sin and break the Fast. Knowing this, the Church encourages us to receive Holy Communion on a more frequent basis, giving us the Evening Presanctified Liturgy midweek to recharge our spiritual batteries. Please make every effort to come to Confession early on in the Fast, to place you in the right frame of mind, prepared to receive the Holy Gifts and fight the good fight.
As you can see in the prayer quoted at the top of this page which is taken from the Presanctified Liturgy - the season of Great Lent is a saving grace given to us by God to cleanse our souls and bodies, and help us to control our passions. Reminding us of Moses, who after fasting for forty days received the great gift of the tablets of the Law of God, the prayer encourages us to do the same so that we may experience in purity of heart the glorious resurrection of Christ! May we with the help of God be given the grace to fight the good fight , to complete the course of the fast, to keep our faith intact, and be victorious over the temptations that Satan throws before us.
As you will see in this Lenten edition of the Prophet, we have a full calendar of liturgical services, educational opportunities, retreats, guest speakers, opportunities for family worship and fellowship during Great Lent. While it may not be possible to attend all that is offered, the variety of offerings and the varying times and days of the week has been purposefully scheduled to allow all parishioners the opportunity to participate in the communal services and activities in some manner.
Assuring you of my prayers and support during this holy season of preparation for the Feast of Feasts, Holy Pascha, I remain,
With Love in Christ, and Prayers